Toby Etherington, the proprietor of a cafe-bistro in London’s Whitechapel, has reacted with disdain to the mass condemnation of the Westminster terror attack by politicians and members of the public. He said that all too many people are jumping sheep-like onto the bandwagon of contempt for random murders in the name of a cause.
‘I’m afraid it’s just so predictable how people react these days when a radical Islamist scythes down passers-by in a car,’ said Etherington, while stroking his long waxed moustache thoughtfully. ‘This attack wasn’t even original in its own terms. Quite frankly it was a very lacklustre copy of the Nice attack last summer and to be honest I don’t think any suicide bomber could ever match the carnage of 9/11. Unless and until they try something original, I stand resolutely against them.’
Etherington noted that, back in the day, many members of the public expressed some sympathy for the cause of Irish republicanism or the Baader-Meinhof Gang, despite being pursued by equally violent psychopaths. ‘I felt like a lone voice in the wilderness for pointing out that Carlos the Jackal was not a glamorous bandit-cum-playboy figure but a squalid little attention-seeker. No-one would listen. Well they’ve all changed their tunes now, haven’t they?’
Pausing to finish his skinny latte and check the temperature on his newly fermenting batch of craft beer, Etherington concluded: ‘Things go in and out of fashion, I accept that. It’s just the way that politicians unthinkingly condemn today what they half-heartedly tolerated yesterday that sticks in my throat. I have always opposed violence for political ends and I resent them talking as if this wasn’t something that some of us haven’t been saying for years.’
Asked to name his least favourite terror group, Etherington reflected on the Japanese Red Army Faction and ETA before plumping for the Fijian Liberation Army. ‘They’re a small neo-Maoist operation hiding in the hills on two outlying islands and trying to destroy the government there by targeting international fast food franchises. You wouldn’t have heard of them.’